Opposition leader Bernard Grech has taken credit for a cannabis reform announced by the government this morning, insisting that it was his comments that had led to the proposal.
This morning Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici announced the main pillars of the reform after having tabled legislation in Parliament.
The reform will see the possession of up to seven grams of cannabis made legal, as well as the cultivation of four plants at home. The new laws will also see an authority set up to regulate cannabis clubs, which would be legal under the proposed new law.
“Two months ago I said the cannabis law promised by Labour for years should first and foremost have tackled how cannabis can be purchased,” Grech said.
In comments to Lovin Malta, Grech had insisted that the relaxation of laws would simply strengthen the black market unless a proposal was made that addressed how smokers can purchase the plant.
“Today, the government amended its proposal in line with what I said, through the introduction of associations by membership,” Grech said.
“I look forward to the publication of the actual Bill so that we can have a serious discussion about this in Parliament and submit the amendments necessary.”
While the impact of Grech’s statement shouldn’t be underestimated, given that it represented a significant shift in the party’s position on the reform, the claim that the government had amended its reform on the basis of his statements feels like a bit of a stretch.
The proposals announced today are similar to those drawn up under the previous Reforms Minister Rosianne Cutajar, with many stakeholders having pushed for cannabis clubs as a means of procuring the plant for some time.
The Nationalist Party has in fact been criticised for not providing any feedback during a public consultation carried out on the reform and had, up until Grech’s statement, generally avoided taking a position on the matter.
What do you make of Grech’s statement?